Introduction to Influencer Marketing (if you’re familiar, skip to the tips)
In a world where organic reach from brands is very low, Influencers offer the opportunity to create content that doesn’t just seem authentic; it is authentic. Everybody wins – creators are enabled (by cash or resources) to create, fans get to see new content to consume, and brands get exposure.
It’s proven more effective in ROI (11X higher than traditional forms of digital marketing). The explanation is simple: Young people often don’t trust brands, but look to social media for purchase guidance (74% to be exact), so organizations utilize trusted influencers on our social accounts to guide the conversation to hit business objectives.
In fact, 89% of marketers used influencers in 2017 to create authentic content about their brand. That includes us: we’ve leveraged influencers for 1Hotels, Sam Adams, and nearly a dozen other brands.
Working with influencers offers a wide range of potential benefits. If executed correctly, branded content from influencers can feel like a recommendation from a friend. But entering to the influencer marketing arena can be a little tricky and confusing. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your relationships with influencers (and avoid getting played).
Go Beyond Followers and Likes: Avoid Bots and Analyze Hype
Determine if the influencer in question will help increase brand awareness and broaden your reach. The size of an influencer’s audience may affect the potential reach of their posts, and may also determine the cost-per-post from that influencer. It also might be indicative of fraud. Bots run rampant these days, racking up followers for wanna-be influencers with no real audience. Run a mini background check using resources like HypeAuditor or good ole-fashion social background checks (i.e. go post by post and see if fans are actually engaging with content consistently).
Over Communicate Expectations: From Creative Constraints to Logistical Hurdles
Especially when they reach out to you. Remember: influencers are eager to work with your brand. Always clearly and explicitly communicate expectations. If the influencer is working with an agency, it is critical the creator has a clear understanding and has agreed to a formal scope of work.
Be sure to add creative constraints. For example, let’s say you manage a beer brand that has strict brand guidelines for social, or a strict budget, or a tight timeline. Inform influencers early and often. As they ideate (or you ideate together), knowing all constraints will confine ideas to the realm of possibility.
Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate.
Be sure to communicate your budget and see what they can do to work within. Remember that everything is negotiable. Monetary compensation is not the only benefit for influencers. Working with brands helps to get their personal brand on the map, open new doors, and add to their portfolio. Nine times out of ten, they want you more than you want them (but also remember to compensate them fairly – be sure to land on an agreement that makes sense for all parties involved).
We regularly leverage popular influencer management platform Fohr Card to acquire, coordinate with, collaborate with, manage, and analyze the performance of influencers. But this costs money, of course.
It could be a 3rd party tool or your own influencer management template (on Google Sheets/Excel) – the important thing is that you’re tracking data. Do your best to track influencer content performance against KPIs, from user engagement to follower health.
Legally Avoid Getting Played: Write your own contract
Make sure that the terms and conditions meet your needs and the needs of your clients. Be sure to get the rights to the content that they are producing for your brand. Brands need their intellectual property. Be sure to make it very clear (i.e. don’t bury it in legalese): what is expected of the influencer in terms of deliverables, when/where they can place the content, and what happens if they breach the contract.
Do your best to track the success of our influencer campaigns based on select campaign objectives:
- Build Awareness: Plan and optimize to grow connections and reach to expand day-to-day interaction with your customers.
- Cultivate Engagement: Maintain an ongoing dialogue with customers and influencers via social media channels, content, and conversations.
- Support Business Goals: Drive conversions on special offers, calls to action, and/or demonstrating purchase intent. Weigh these against campaign awareness, sentiment and audience growth goals.
- Create Lasting Relationships: Assuming they’re a good fit for your brand, treat them not as a marketing vehicle, but as a collaborator. This will ensure success and ease down the road.